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August 28, 2014

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Step right up, bet on UNLV to win BCS football crown (UPDATED)

Of all the ways to lose a few dollars in Las Vegas, the race and sports books have a novel one when it comes to college football.

UNLV to win the BCS national championship game at Dolphin Stadium in Miami on Jan. 8, 2009.

Barley’s, a neighborhood joint in Henderson, and the Wynn have posted odds of 1,000-1 on that beauty.

Rooting for the hometown team is one thing, but trying to pad the bottom line on some poor souls’ misguided loyalty should be outlawed.

The only thing more insane would be actually putting money on that mutt of a wager. Those who do so should at least get a coupon for a hot dog or a free card for the 8 p.m. Bingo game.

Clowns wearing large UNLV-red noses and size-32 shoes should zip from around a corner and shower the lucky patron with confetti. It could be a cottage industry for carneys.

Here’s the skinny.

UNLV has had one winning campaign over its past 13 years. In each of the past four seasons, it has won only two games.

In the 40 years of the program, this is the lone four-year stretch in which it has failed to win at least three games in one of those seasons.

This is Mike Sanford’s first stint as a head coach, and three of those two-victory seasons are his. With another one, maybe he can secure a six-year extension. Obviously, pigskin mediocrity is tolerated at the hoops school.

It should be 1,000-1 that the team will have a winning record this season.

At the Hilton, however, sports book director Jay Kornegay did not list UNLV on its BCS chart. He found that odd when he perused his sheet Monday, because he usually includes the hometown team on all such wager charts.

Had he put UNLV on the list, Kornegay said he would have put its odds at 5,000-1.

"Then, all of a sudden, you create that liability," he said. "But they're not quite ready for that (BCS) run."

Kornegay did include UNLV on its over-under victory list, at 4 1/2. That opened at about even money, he said, but three times as many bettors have taken the "under," meaning they think the Rebels will not win more than four games this season. That "under" bet is now at -160, where you have to lay $16 to win $10.

At Barley’s, UNLV's over-under victory mark is 3 1/2. The next-worst BCS odds are 400-1, on UNR. Hawaii is 200-1. At Wynn, UNR, Navy and North Carolina State are 500-1. The field bet at Barley’s (which has 49 individual teams listed) is 40-1 and 60-1 at Wynn (which lists 70 teams).

Anyone who sidles up to a sports book to bet on UNLV to win the football championship this season proves David Hannum's axiom, that a sucker is born every minute.

You thought P.T. Barnum said that? I'll give you 1,000-1 odds that he didn't.

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